Original Research

General morphology of the oral cavity of the Nile crocodile, Crocodylus niloticus (Laurenti, 1768). I. Palate and gingivae

J.F. Putterill, J.T. Soley
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 70, No 4 | a293 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v70i4.293 | © 2003 J.F. Putterill, J.T. Soley | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 November 2003 | Published: 08 November 2003

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J.F. Putterill,
J.T. Soley,

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The heads of nine 2.5 to 3-year-old Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) were obtained from a commercial farm where crocodiles are raised for their skins and meat. The animals from which these specimens originated were clinically healthy at the time they were slaughtered. A detailed description of the macroscopic and microscopic features of the palate and gingivae of the Nile crocodile is presented and the results are compared with published information on this species and other Crocodylia. The histological features are supplemented by information supplied by scanning electron microscopy. Macroscopic features of interest are the small conical process situated at the base of the first two incisors of the maxilla, the distribution of cobbled units on the palate, and the broad dentary shelf forming the rostral aspect of the mandible. Histologically the palate and gingivae did not differ significantly from each other and both regions showed a presence of Pacinian-type corpuscles. Two types of sensory structures (taste receptors and pressure receptors) were identified in the regions examined, both involving modification of the epithelium and the underlying connective tissue.


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